I served in the Army from 1963 to 1967. I started in Louisiana, Georgia, and then Washington D.C., where I met a Vietnamese women who was going to school. When she graduated, she went home. So I volunteered and went to Vietnam to find her. I found her, and we got married. Two years later, she got killed. They offered me $25,000 to stay another year, and I said, ‘No.’ I was done. I lost a lot of friends and held on pretty well, but once I lost her, and our baby, and the housekeeper when our house got bombed, it wasn’t worth it anymore. So I came home.
Right now, I’m staying at an assisted living facility, but I’m trying to buy my own house. So far, people have been rebuffing that. They’re trying to have me stay in the system. I don’t want to stay in the system. I want to be on my own.
What would success look like for you now?
Buying my own home. I always owned my own home since high school, so I don’t like the idea of being dependent on someone else. I am disabled, and I’m on disability retirement, but it’s not true that the disabled are not mentally functional. Most of the people are pretty capable. Some people prefer to rely on that place, but I don’t. I prefer to be on my own.
When older adults have access to economic supports, they can live with dignity as they age. These supports also help Missourians live independently and outside of costly institutional care. When we look out for one another, we all see #TheNetBenefit.